Growing pains is a term we use for low-grade muscle pains that have no obvious explanation. They occur in about 10% of school age children. They involve the muscles of the upper and lower leg, not the bones or joints. They tend to be worse in the evening, but unlike muscle cramps, they don't awaken a child from sleep. Regardless of what we do, these pains go away after 1 to 2 years. Although they occur in growing children, they're not caused by rapid growth. They probably result from abrupt physical exertion in children with tight muscle tendons. Here are some tips for treating growing pains:
First: Reassure your child that these are not serious and will not get worse.
Second: Have your child stretch his leg muscles for 5 minutes each day. Stretches should include the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles. A healthcare provider or athletic trainer can show you how to do these.
Third: Don't ask your child about his pains because this tends to make him worry about them.
Fourth: Make sure your child spends at least 30 minutes a day in physical activity so that his leg muscles don't have sudden changes in exercise.
A FINAL CAUTION: See your child's healthcare provider for any pains that are severe, in the joints, cause a limp, or are otherwise worrisome.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.